Oranjestad Travel Guide

  • Downtown Oranjestad
    Downtown Oranjestad
    by briantravelman
  • Old House In Oranjestad
    Old House In Oranjestad
    by briantravelman
  • Iguanas
    Iguanas
    by briantravelman

Oranjestad Things to Do

  • Bon Bini Festival

    This was the highlight of our trip to Aruba, and is a must, on any visit to the island, just make sure you bring a long sleeved t-shirt, because it actually got a bit chilly.Bon Bini means "welcome" in Papiamento. It's kind of funny that we were seeing the "welcome" festival on our last night, but that's the way our schedule played out. I'm...

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  • Plaza Daniel Leo

    Considered to be the most beautiful part of the city, Plaza Daniel Leo, is the main shopping area in Oranjestad. One of our cab drivers actually told us, that the shops here are much cheaper than in other parts of the city, and suggested that this is where we do our shopping, so we did some of it here.I was mainly interested in this plaza for the...

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  • The Yellow House

    This town-country house was built by a Frenchman in 1860. The year 1908 above the central access point, refers to the year the house was purchased, by Richard John Eman.In 1998 the bad news was received that Aruba Bank at the Caya Betico Croes, wanted to demolish this town country house on the forecourt of the bank building. This was a huge...

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  • Archaeology Museum

    Most people don't come to Oranjestad for its museums, but this one is worth a visit. The museum is housed in a series of beautiful 19th colonial buildings, and showcases the entire history of the island, from the first inhabitants, the Arawak, all the way up to Dutch Colonialism.The museum's main focus, however, is the island's pre-European...

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  • Schelpstraat

    The complex that houses the city's archaeology museum, is actually a series of historic 19th and 20th century buildings, each with some historical significance.I decided to just mention all of them in one tip.Cas EcuryAlso known as the "Green House", this protected monument in the center of Oranjestad was built in 1929 by Architect Merdardo ‘Dada’...

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  • Old Presbyterian Church

    Located right next to the New Presbyterian Church, is the Old Presbyterian Church, which is much nicer, and more interesting. This lovely church dates back to 1846, and is the island's oldest house of worship.Today, the church houses the Bible Museum. Unfortunately, the entire area was fenced off for construction, so we couldn't get inside. It is a...

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  • Stadhuis(Eloy Arends House)

    This beautiful building was constructed in 1925. The house is built by the late Dr. Jacobo Eloy Maria Arends. Eloy Arends was married to Maria Lacle. During their engagement time in 1922, the construction of the Arends residence began, and was completed in 1925. Tradition in Aruba at the time stipulated that on the day of his marriage, a man had to...

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  • Museo Arubano

    Located inside Fort Zoutman, is the Museo Arubano, also called, the Museum of Aruban Culture.This museum is not very well known, but it is an interesting one, so it is worth a visit.I read that this museum focuses on the early, pre-European development of Aruba, but I think people confused it with the Archeological Museum. This museum focuses...

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  • Willem III Tower

    The colorful Willem III Tower, is part of the city's historic, Fort Zoutman. The tower was constructed between 1866 and 1868, much later than the fort, and was originally a lighthouse. The tower is named after King Willem III, of the Netherlands, because it was lit on his birthday.The tower ceased function as a lighthouse in 1963. Over the years,...

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  • Fort Zoutman

    One of the island's most visited sites, Fort Zoutman was built by the Dutch army between 1796 and 1798, to defend against pirates, and other enemies.Built from stone, coral, and concrete, the fort is the oldest structure on the island. It is named after Dutch Real Admiral Johan Arnold Zoutman, who fought in the Fourth Anglo-Dutch War, and the...

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  • Queen Wilhelmina Park

    If you've had enough of the noisey and crowded streets, you can relax at the Queen Wilhelmina Park. The park is named after the longest ruling Dutch monarch in history, 58 years, from 1890-1948. The park has a large statue of her, along with Anne Frank, and other important Dutch and Aruban figures.The park is small, but nice. This is where locals...

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  • Atlantis Submarine Tour

    If you have some time to kill in Oranjestad, I would recommend doing the Atlantis Submarine tour. The hour, 45 minute tour costs around $100 per person, and sails out of Oranjestad every day at 11 AM.You can buy tickets at their office upon arrival. You meet at the marina 15 minutes before the tour starts for a short orientation. They than put you...

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Oranjestad Hotels

  • Bucuti Beach resort Oranjestad

    LG Smith Boulevard 55-B, Oranjestad, Aruba, 1347, Caribbean

    Satisfaction: Excellent

    Good for: Business

    Hotel Class 4.5 out of 5 stars

  • Manchebo Beach Resort and Spa

    JE Irausquin Blvd 55, Oranjestad, Aruba, Caribbean

    Satisfaction: Excellent

    Good for: Business

    Hotel Class 4 out of 5 stars

  • Paradera Park Oranjestad

    Paradera #203, Oranjestad, Aruba, Caribbean

    Satisfaction: Excellent

    Good for: Business

Oranjestad Restaurants

  • Good food, and hospitality

    I actually read about this place on Virtual Tourist, and wanted to eat here, but had no idea where it was. We happened to find it by accident, and I'm glad we did. It is a small cafe located at the city's bus terminal. This place is not very known to tourists. We went there twice, and there was only one other tourist. The rest were all locals, who...

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  • Don't Miss!!

    On a whim, we stopped to watch this guy cutting up coconuts for the locals and the tourists and putting on quite a show! He had all sorts of flavors available for drinks. After watching a woman stop just for a cup of coconut milk, I decided to ask whether he could make a coconut milkshake--made from fresh coconut. Well, of course!!! It was pure...

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  • Update on the Bus Cafe

    This is an update on a prior review (4 years later). Same location but I think there must be new owners. The place is cleaner and cuter. We only tried the pastechi since I loved it so much last time. It was simply okay--but it may have been an off-day. It looks every bit as good as last time but this time it was really dry inside. Still might be...

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  • Great Sushi in Oranjestad.

    On the second night of our trip, I was in the mood for seafood, but unfortunately, most of the seafood restaurants we looked up had no vegetarian options (or limited) for Elisabeth. We then stumbled upon the name of Sushi Ya, located in the Renaissance Marketplace. Sushi immediately appealed to both of us so off we went. At first, we were a bit put...

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  • Go for the table sauce

    This is a new restaurant right next door to Senor Frog's. It's very close to the pier. In fact, you can look out their front door and see all of the cruise ships! (see pic) It's very pretty inside and the women running it were terrific!! Very friendly, helpful, great service. This was part 2 of our search for local food. I decided to try some...

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  • Local Food

    We stopped at Turtle Cove and their menu looked wonderful, however we were on a hunt for local foods. The staff at Turtle Cove was very nice and directed us to a little place right behind them so that we could try a pastechi. To get to this restaurant, go right underneath the Turtle Cove restaurant. You will see the bus stop directly in front of...

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Oranjestad Transportation

  • City Tram

    Oranjestad very recently installed a small tram system, making it feel even more like a European city. The tram runs from the cruise terminal, through the downtown shopping area, and is free, so you can hop on and off as you please. So if you get lost, or tired of walking, you can hop on the tram.We rode it one stop, just for the experience. It's...

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  • Walk

    Downtown Oranjestad is very small, and most streets are traffic free from morning until around 3:00, so Oranjestad is very easy to explore on foot. Once you get here, exploring the town on foot, is the most logical option. We made a few visits to Oranjestad, and each time, we were dropped off somewhere, than walked around. If you get tired, or...

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  • Arubus

    Aside from walking, the Arubus is the cheapest way to get to Oranjestad. All buses go to Oranjestad, and cost 4 florins, $2.39. You can pay in either, but it is easier to pay in florins, because the numbers are whole.The bus runs all along the western coast of the island, as far north as Arashi Beach, as far south as Baby Beach, and as far inland...

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Oranjestad Shopping

  • briantravelman's Profile Photo

    by briantravelman Written Apr 15, 2014

    A fun place to shop is at the city's colorful merchant stalls, for which the Caribbean is known.
    Street vendors are the best places to buy local souvenirs and clothing. They are set up along the marina, next the bus terminal, and on Rockefeller-Straat. They all pretty much sell the same things, local souvenirs, handmade Jewell, and clothing. The stalls along the marina have the most items, but there isn't much variety. The local crafts are nothing special, it's mostly little kids' stuff. The only things I really liked were the water bottles, and shirts.
    Some of the shop keepers will haggle with you, so you can get a good deal. Prices tend to be the same, cruise or no cruise.
    These stalls are good places to buy clothing, hats, and local crafts, but if you want high quality stuff, or Dutch souvenirs.

    The vendors want U.S. dollars, so you may have a little trouble paying with florins, as often, they do not have change for florins. Sometimes they do not even have change for dollars, so sometimes they will ask for both.
    They are a bit difficult to deal with, when it comes to paying, so you have to work with them a little. Some vendors are fun, and have a sense of humor, others are strictly business. The experience you have, all depends on whether or not you meet the right vendor.

    What to buy: Traditional t-shirts and dresses, hats, local souvenirs, homemade jewelry.

    Merchant Stalls Market In Oranjestad Colorful T-Shirts Caribbean Market Market Near Bus Terminal
    Related to:
    • Arts and Culture
    • Cruise
    • Family Travel

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Oranjestad Local Customs

  • English Phone Booths

    Throughout history, Aruba has been visited and conquered, by many different nations. One of them, was the British empire. Instead of looking at it, as something bad, Aruba has decided to acknowledge, the different nations who conquered them, by mixing in some of their culture, with their own, especially here in Oranjestad.A good example, is these...

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  • Dutch Church Service

    If you're in Aruba on a Sunday, it's worth the time to attend services at the Dutch Protestant Church (The Protestant Church Community of Aruba). The church itself was built in 1822, but the cultural aspect is that services are conducted (mainly) in Dutch, with an English translation insert in the program. Just keep in mind that the church has no...

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  • Oranjestad Hotels

    24 Hotels in Oranjestad

Oranjestad Warnings and Dangers

  • Things Close Early

    It is good to know that things close early in Oranjestad. Some of the restaurants remain open, but shops, street vendors, and museums all close early.We went to the archaeology museum around 2:00, and it was already closing. Than around 3:00, we went back to check out the vendor stalls, and most them were also closed. There were only a few that...

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  • Town Is Closed On Sundays

    Hotel managers, locals, taxi drivers, and tour guides all told us that all the shops and restaurants in Oranjestad, are closed on Sundays, though we drove through there on Sunday, and things were open. We asked the cab driver why, and he said, it's probably because of the cruise ship. This is very possible, that they just kept things open for the...

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  • Driving Is Not A Good Idea

    Driving in Oranjestad is not a good idea. The streets are a bit chaotic, traffic can get really bad, there are a lot of one way streets, and finding parking can be very difficult. We were taking a cab ride from the airport, during rush hour, and the driver decided to take the scenic route, instead of the fast route, and it was bad. The one way...

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Oranjestad Off The Beaten Path

  • Hooiberg

    About 3 miles outside of Oranjestad, is the island's famous Hooiberg or "Haystack Mountain. This 541 ft. (168 m), volcanic formation, is the island's second highest peak, and is a popular hiking destination for tourists.You can hike to the top, and get a really great view of the island, and on a clear day, even see Venezuela. There is some sort of...

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  • The museum of foreign currency.

    Most visitors miss the museums the city has to offer. Pay a visit to the Museum of foreign currency. In which you would find currencies from every country in the World since the beginning of mankind.The Museum of foreign currency is located next to the University of Aruba near the St. Francis Roman Catholic Church of Oranjestad.

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Oranjestad Favorites

  • by Arubasun. Written Oct 4, 2002

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Favorite thing: Oranjestad Wilhelmina park is very well kept it is an oasis of green in the city downtown core. The park was named after the beloved Queen Wilhelmina of The Netherlands and her statue could be seen in the park.

    Wilhelmina park is a peaceful place, you would see a few people jogging, some children playing and other just reading or talking in a peaceful environment.

    The park is located near the Aruba Rennaissance Suites in downtown.

    Path through Wilhelmina Park.

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Explore Deeper into Oranjestad
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